We predicted who will win Eurovision, based on geopolitics

We predicted who will win Eurovision, based on geopolitics

It's the moment of 2015 you've all been waiting for. The continent's finest performers will be descending on Vienna for the 60th edition of Eurovision.

Or something like that anyway.

The song contest has been derided in recent years for its allegedly impartial voting blocs. Terry Wogan quit because of it, the Daily Mail manages to publish an article almost every year bemoaning it, there are even academic studies dedicated to the phenomenon.

Although judging panels were introduced in 2009 to make up 50 per cent of a country's vote, bias still appears to remain.

With all this in mind, we've put together the following (not entirely scientific) political analysis to predict who will win on Saturday night. (Hint: It almost certainly won't be the UK's entry Electro Velvet).

Bloc voting

Since the early 1990s, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the break-up of Yugoslavia, the winning songs have come from an increasingly wide range of countries (18 different winners in 25 years).

Countries from the Eastern bloc are often accused of being the worst perpetrators of tactical voting, but this has not always manifested in former Soviet or Yugoslav countries voting for each other.

For instance, between 2009 and 2014 - Azerbaijan (a former Soviet state) and neighbouring Turkey exchanged 12 points (the top score) on seven occasions - bonus points for Turkey that would never have occurred before.

Reasons for tactical voting

As scientists from Oxford University explain in How does Europe Make Its Mind Up?: "These cliques are not always the expected ones, nor can their existence be explained solely on the grounds of geographical proximity."

We estimate there are four influences on voting in Eurovision other than the "quality" of song: size of diaspora, political relations, common language and cultural affinity.

The effect

Based on these factors and an analysis of historic votes, the below table shows where we believe the 27 finalists should pick up their highest points on Saturday night.

Note: All 39 countries that qualified for the semi-finals can still vote for other entries in the final.

With the ongoing tensions in Ukraine (who aren't involved this year), votes for Russia are likely to be more political than ever and east European votes could spread to another, friendlier neighbour - watch out for the likes of Estonia or Latvia.

Economic negotiations between Greece and its creditors (with Germany seen as the centre of political Europe), could see their votes swayed too.

However, the absence of Denmark and the Netherlands - north European nations who both performed well in 2014 - could see votes that previously went to them spread to their neighbours - like Germany and Sweden.

Who will win?

Taking all of this into account - we predict the top performing nations will be Sweden, Germany and Estonia.

Sweden: One of the traditional big hitters in the competition's history. They should pick up points from all their Nordic neighbours, plus with a fairly impartial role in European politics they may just be the neutral's favourite.

Germany: The absence of neighbours Denmark and the Netherlands - who were both eliminated in the semi-finals - should help them hoover up extra points that could have gone to those two. Being the country in Europe with more borders than any other (except Russia) should help too.

Estonia: As mentioned previously, the hostilities in Ukraine and Russia's near-pariah status could see east European votes go to another former Soviet state instead. Being part of the EU, as well as being located near Scandinavia could help Estonia pick up some votes from the west too.

Of course, Australia's involvement in this 60th anniversary version is a complete anomaly and they could just blow all this analysis out of the water. Watch this space.

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